2009's 25 geekiest 25th anniversaries
The year 1984 provided a boatload of technological achievement and geeky infamy. The media will revisit them one by one over the next 12 months, but here they are today, neatly alphabetized.
(A cooler slideshow version can be found here.)
1. AT&T disintegrates: In 1974, Uncle Sam decided AT&T was a monopoly ... 10 years later, Ma Bell's empire was dismantled.
2. BETAMAX saved: The famous Supreme Court "Betamax case" was all set to go against movie watchers until Justice John Paul Stevens pulled two votes out the fire.
3. It's a bouncing baby CISCO: Like many career couples, Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner decided their lives were incomplete without having a router company.
4. CRACKBERRY in motion: BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, which sounds like it should be the name of a geek boy band, was founded in the Canadian city of Waterloo, which sounds like it should be an ABBA song.
5. CRASHING a jet for science: Fitzhugh Fulton must have enjoyed his job of remote-control pilot as NASA conducted its "controlled" demonstration crash of a Boeing 720.
6. Neuromancer popularizes 'CYBERSPACE': William Gibson's science-fiction classic won all kinds of awards ... and also brought the word "cyberspace" into the lexicon.
7. Dude, you're gonna be DELL: College student Michael Dell had the idea of selling computers directly to customers, much like his classmates might peddle pot out of their dorm rooms.
8. DISCMAN takes off: Two years after mass production of CDs commenced, Sony released the first portable CD player, the Discman. It was the size of four CD cases.
9. ABCs of DNA FINGERPRINTING: British researcher Alec Jeffreys stared at a batch of X-ray film and recognized a method for putting bad guys behind bars.
10. Your ELEPHONE'S ringing: Willy Wonka's "last major invention (1984) was the Elephone, a telephone that works in an elevator," says "Wikiality, The Truthiness Encyclopedia".
11. Future of FACEBOOK: Mark Zuckerberg was born on May 14, 1984, to Karen and Edward Zuckerberg of Boca Raton, Fla.
12. FLASH memory: Fujio Masuoka, a Toshiba researcher, invented flash memory.
13. 'Who you gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS': A staple on "funniest movies ever" lists, "Ghostbusters" opened June 8 to great reviews.
14. Bernie GOETZ: Geek with a gun: Hero? Trigger-happy racist? Whatever your view, there's no doubt Berhard ("Subway Vigilante") Goetz was a geek.
15. 2600 The HACKER Quarterly debuts: A friend calls it "the hacker's Home & Garden."
16. Hi to HASSIUM: Just don't touch. A synthetic element (No. 108) was discovered by German scientists; it's nasty stuff.
17. K250: 'Isn't she lovely': That was Stevie Wonder expressing his man love for Ray Kurzweil and the Kurzweil K250, an electronic synthesizer he had asked for two years prior.
18. 'Hello, I'm a MAC': Two days after its now iconic TV commercial, dubbed "1984," aired during the Super Bowl, Apple's Macintosh went on sale.
19. MATHCOUNTS kicks spelling-bee backside: The first national MATHCOUNTS competition was held.
20. Go NTU: National Technological University was the first accredited "virtual" university. It beamed courses via satellite to the likes of IBM, HP and Motorola.
21. Voila! BB84 QUANTUM cryptography: Charles Bennett and Gilles Brassard developed the first quantum cryptography protocol.
22. 'Looks like a ROBOTICIDE, captain': On July 21 in Jackson, Mich., the nation's first fatal robotics accident killed a 34-year-old diecast operator.
23. Out for a SPACE WALK: Shuttle Challenger astronaut Bruce McCandless became the first to fly in space with neither a craft nor lifeline.
24: 'The TERMINATOR': Now that's network trouble: Kyle Reese: "Defense network computers. ... Decided our fate in a microsecond: extermination."
25. TRANSFORMERS grow up, too: That's right, Hasbro's robots in disguise have been more than meets the eye since 1984.